Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 595 · 8 months ago

The Seeming Strength of the World


Ezekiel 26-28:19

Emily. Father, we do thank you for the revelation that you give to us, particularly, Lord, for the Good News of the Gospel that comes to us in Jesus Christ, the Gospel that promised to it promises to us the forgiveness of sins and our justification before you, through his obedience, I'm imputed to us. It's a salvation that also promises to us, Lord, sanctification, US, the hope of being made more and more like you, and one day I'm reigning with Christ and glorious bodies. That no a sin, no more. Lord, we look forward to that day and I'm until then, we ask that you would help us to persevere, keeping our eyes on you are only rock and our only fortress. We asked that you would help us with that. And they enable us to do do these things and to be these kinds of people. As we come to your word tonight, and Ezekiel, bless the reading and preaching of your word and our hearing of it. We pray this in Jesus name. Then, well, tonight I'm going to be reading from Ezekiel Twenty Six, twenty seven and, yes, even the beginning of twenty eight. So if you're able to remain standing. Please do, but if you need to sit down, that's fine. Actually go ahead and be seated. Here's why. Because before I read this I think it would be helpful. What I want to do tonight is just a little bit differently different. Considering the length of the passage. What I want to do is just interduce you to it first before we read it. I think it'll help us to hear it better. So I'll survey the passage briefly and then we'll read it and then I'll make some some applications at the end. For those of you who have been with us through is Zekiel, you know that it is not uncommon for us to read large portions of this book. I want to remind you just a couple reasons why we do that. One reason is that general knowledge of the Bible is low among many, many people. Perhaps not for you, but there are. There's good reason just to get to know more of the Bible. So that's one reason. Another reason, which is more based in the text, is that much of what is Egiel says comes to us in large units. But I think that's intended to be a taken together. When you see that, both in the way he frames things and also in the imagery he gives, and you'll see that here tonight, the the pictures and the prophecy tonight against the city tire. It's full of imagery. It's meant to make an impression on us. Imagine reading a Lord of the Rings, you know, two or three sentences at a time right. It's difficult to get caught up in the story. It would might it would be challenging. Imagine going through some of the songs or some of the battles and in a grand book like that, just a tiny bit at a time. It's not that that's not useful, but you do miss out on some other things. And so, with various options, a good options in front of us, this is the one I've chosen and I hope it's a blessing to you. I'm so now an overview of these chapters, these chapters I'll deal with, these prophecies against the city of tire.

You remember that what is happening is a God has promised destruction upon Jerusalem for her disobedience, for her her many, many sins, which Ezekiel has has testified to and made very clear. But now, with the destruction of Jerusalem. The Lord is moving to these cities outside of Jerusalem, unbelieving cities, people not a part of the Abrahamic Covenant, Not Direct Lee, and he's bringing condemnation on them. We read the reason for that in Verse Two of Chapter Twenty Six, son of man, because tire said concerning Jerusalem, Aha, the gate of the People's is broken, it is swung open to me, I shall be replenished. Now that she has laid waste. Tire, the city not a part of Israel, looks at Jerusalem's destruction, says now is our chance, this is going to be great for us, as God's judgment comes upon his people, we have an opportunity to grow even stronger. And the Lord does not like this. He hates it and in particular, what will see is that he hates the heart from which that comes. It's not only despising of Jerusalem, but it's a very proud heart that is all about wealth, all about her economy, all about having strength in that city. So first we have this accusation of what tire has done. Then in verses three through fourteen, we have a description of what God will do. Tire is a seaside city and known for its merchant and it's true, it's economies as seafaring, these kinds of things. And God uses water imagery to describe how tire will be destroyed, like a big wave or a Suna me even rolling in on this city. He's just going to lay it bare down to the rock. Even the soil, he says, will be removed. The God's wrath on them will be will be made manifest against their wealth. They're people music and more. Then after that, in verses fifteen through eighteen, we have the response of tires neighbors, which, interestingly, is kind of what tire should have done in the first place, which is humility. When we see God pouring out his wrath on someone our opera, our response should not be oh, great, it's time to get or oh, how awesome I am. When we see someone under discipline, it's an opportunity for us took, examine our own hearts and repent, and we see some of that. Then we come to chapter twenty six and a lamentation is given, a song, and you have this. I kind of think of it in my mind as the titanic chapter. The city of tire is portrayed as like the titanic, this sort of unsinkable, beautiful, amazing ship that would never fail, and down she goes. And so this is there's really strong imagery here in this chapter. Is this amazing ship is described. We have the beauty of the ship, the strength of the ship, then the sailors on the ship and all the great successes that she has as she goes about her business in the world. Then in verses, Twenty Six through twenty seven, comes the sinking of the ship, and it is the rowers, it says the rowers, that bring this about. They take the ship, the people of tire take the ship to a dangerous place. They do not see what is coming. What happens is not an accident. In other words, tire...

...has brought herself to this place. And then in the chat, the next thing we have in the last thing we have in that chapter is the great mourning that happens when the works of man come crashing down or sinking down. It is not uncommon for people, even disconnected with the event, to be very, very moved by that. We know that in the sinking of the titanic that the Twin Towers come to my mind as well. For those of us who are around when we saw those fall. There is this sense of greatness just crumbling, a vulnerability, of of a seeing of great accomplishment coming so quickly, so quickly, to an end, and so we see the mourning of these people as they feel the law us of what has happened. Finally, in Chapter Twenty Eight, verses one through nineteen, the prophet focuses on in on the king, a king who is very proud. He is not, his heart is not psalm sixty two, which is the Lord is my strength, the Lord is my salvation, the Lord is my rock, but he is I'm like I mentioned this morning, in the Tower of Babel, or nebuchadnezzar tire. He thinks he's a God, he thinks he is accomplished all of these things, and in some ways he has. His success and his decisions and the things that have happened in this country are to the glory of Man. The problem is that he's trusted in them and he's will put too much faith in himself and for this God will bring him down in a way that that has echoes of the fall of Satan himself, who is strong and beautiful and powerful and yet falls so greatly because of his pride, a reminder to us not to trust the kings and princes of this world or anything in this world that would promise to be to us God. So that's a summary of these these sections. Let's read them now, and I ask that as you read them, as we read them, as you hear them, I'm let the words sink in, feel the image three in the poetry, imagine the descriptions that are given. UN Let the weight of these words fall upon your hearts. So let's hear God's word. Knell a beginning in Ezechiel, Chapter Twenty six, in the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, son of man, because Ti are said concerning Jerusalem. Aha, the gate of the People's is broken. It is swung open to me. I shall be replenished now that she has laid waste. Therefore, thus says the Lord, God behold, I am against you, O tire, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. They shall destroy the walls of tire and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock. She shall be in the midst of the sea, a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God, and she shall become plunder for the nations, and her daughters on the mainland shall be killed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord, for thus says the Lord God. Behold, I will bring against tire from the North Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers, he will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland. He will set up siege wall against you and throw up a mound against you and raise a roof of shields against you. He will... the shock of his battering rams against your walls and with his axes you will break down your towers. His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots when he empties your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached, but the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your riches and loo to your Merchantdiz. They will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, your stones and timber and soil. They will cast into the midst of the waters and I will stop the music of your songs and the sound of your liars shall be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the Lord. I Have Spoken, declares the Lord God. Thus says the Lord God to tire. Will not the coast land shake at the sound of your fall? When the wounded grow, when slaughter is made in your midst? Then all the princes of the sea will step down from their thrones and remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling. They will sit on the ground and tremble every moment and be appalled at you. They will raise a lamentation over you and say how you have pair Urst you who were inhabited from the seas, Oh city renowned, who is mighty on the sea. She and her inhabitants imposed their terror on all the her inhabitants. Now the coast lands tremble on the day of your fall, and the coast lands that are on the sea are dismayed at your passing. For Thus, as the Lord God, when I make you a city laid waste, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you, in the great waters cover you, then I will make you go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the world below among ruins from of old and those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited, but I will set beauty in the land of the living. I will bring you to a dreadful end and you shall be no more, though you be sought, for you will never be found again, declares the Lord God. The word of the Lord came to me. Now, you, son of man, raise a lamentation over tire and say to tire, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the People's to many coast lands. Thus, as the Lord God, Oh tire, you have said I am perfect in beauty. Your borders are in the heart of the seas. Your builders made perfect your beauty. They made all your planks from the fir trees of Sennier. They took a cedar from Lebanon to make a asked for you of oaks of basin. They made your oars. They made your deck of Pines from the coasts of Cyprus, inlaid with ivory. A fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sale, serving as your banner. Blue and purple from the coasts of Elshaw was your awning. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad, where your rowers, your skilled men, oh tire, were in you. They were they were your pilots. The elders of gay ball and her skilled men were in you, cocking her your seams. All the ships of the sea, with their mariners, were in you, know to barter for your weares. Persia and blood and put were in your army, as your men of war. They hung the shield and helmet. In you. They gave you splendor. Men of our Vaud and Helleck were on your walls all around, and men of Gabbaud where in your towers. They hung their shields, on your walls, all around. They made you perfect or they made perfect your beauty. Tarshash did business...

...with you because of your great wealth of every kind, silver, iron, tin and lead. They exchanged for your wares. Javan to ball and Meshak traded with you. They exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. From Beth torgot Togarma, they exchanged horses, war horses and Mules for your wares. The men of Dadan traded with you. Many coast lands where your own special markets. They brought you in payment. They brought you in payments. It in payment ivory, tusks and Ebony. Syria did business with you because of your abundant goods. They exchanged for your wars emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and Ruby. Judah and the land of Israel traded with you. They exchanged for your merchandise of wheat, of minith meal, honey, oil and balm. Damascus did business with you for your abundant goods because of your great wealth of every kind, wine of hell, bon and wood from shot are and casts of wine from us all. They exchanged for your wares, raw iron, CASSIA and Columnus were bartered for your merchandise. Deedon traded with you in saddle cloths for riding. Arabia and all the princes of Kate are where your favored dealers and lambs, rams and goats. In these they did business with you. The Traders of Sheba and Rama traded with you. They exchange for your where's the best of all kinds of spices and all precious stones and gold. Ron Canay, Eden, traders of Sheba, Asher and kil mud, and traded with you in your market. You traded with you. These traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of colored material, bound with cords and made secure. The ships of Tarshas traveled for you with your Merchandiz. So you were filled and heavily laden. In the heart of the seas, your rowers, I brought you out into the high seas, the East Wind has wrecked you. In the heart of the seas, your riches, your where's, your merchandise, your mariners and your pilots, your cockers, your dealers and merchandise, and all your men of war who are in you with all your crew, that is in your midst, sink into the heart of the seas. On the day of your fall, at the sound of the cry of your pilots, the countryside shakes and down from their ships come all who handle the OAR, the mariners and all the pilots of the sea, stand on the land and shout aloud over you and cry out bitterly. They cast dust on their heads and wallow and ashes. They make themselves bald for you and put sackcloth on their waist. They weep over you and bitterness of soul, with bitter mourning. In their wailing, they raise a lamentation for you and lament over you, who is like tire, like one destroyed in the midst of the sea. When your waves came from the seas, you satisfied many people, or when your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples. With your abundant wealth and merchandise, you enriched the kings of the earth. Now you are wrecked by the seas and the depths of the waters. Your merchandise and all your crew in your midst have sunk with you. All the inhabitants of the coast lands are appalled at you, and the hair of their kings bristles with horror. Their faces are convulsed. The merchants among the people's hissing you. You have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever. The word of the Lord came to me,...

...son of man, say to the prince of tire. Thus says the Lord God, because your heart is proud and you have said I am a God, I sit in the seed of the Gods, in the heart of the seas. Yet you are but a man and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a God. You are indeed wiser than Daniel. No secret is hidden from you. By your wisdom and your understanding, you have made wealth for yourself and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries. By your great wisdom and trade, you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth. Therefore, thus says the Lord God, because you make your heart like the heart of a God. Therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nation's, and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down into the pit and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, I am a God in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man and no god? In the hands of those who slay you, you shall die the death of the uncircumcised, by the hand of the foreigners. For I Have Spoken, declares the Lord God. Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of tire and say to him thus, as the Lord God, you were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were Eden, the Garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering. Sardius, Towpaz and diamond, barrel onyx and Jasper, Sapphire, Emerald, carbuncle and crafted and gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day you were created, they were prepared. You were an anointed Guardian Cherub. I placed you. You are on the Holy Mountain of God, in the midst of the stones of fire. You walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till unrighteousness was found in you in the abundance of your trade. You were filled with violence in your midst and you sinned. So I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God and I destroyed you, O Guardian Cherub from the midst of the fought of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground. I exposed you before kings to feast their eyes on you by the multitude of your iniquities. In the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. So I brought fire out from your midst. It consumed you and I turned you to ashes of the Earth, or two ashes on the earth, in the sight of all who saw you, all who knew you, among the People's are appalled at you. You have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever. God blesses word to us. So you see what I mean. I talk about the greatness of this city, the greatness of her king. She is pictured, he is pictured as even herself, as an angel, standing in the glory of God and in it's true that God even pronounces a kind of commendation on the wisdom and beauty of the city and of the king, on the expression of all these things. They were not false. She was truly wealthy, truly wise, truly powerful, truly glorious. But this, the wealth...

...and the glory and all of these things led to a heart of pride, and this is the main thing I want to focus on as I conclude this this evening, as we let the scriptures do their work in us, as we hear God heard and these many ways in which he speaks to us, I think it's important that we remember how distracting the glory of Man is to us and how enticing and tempting it is to us. It happened to the king of tire and her people, the people of tire. It happened to Nebuchadnezzar, it happened to Solomon and happened to David. When riches and wealth come into our lives, into our countries, into our communities, there is much blessing in it, much good in it, but there is also temptation and danger in it, and we have to hear passages like this and remember, remember, remember, not to trust it, not to trust in the glory and the power of man. You can see in it, you can see it, you can wonder at it, you can be amazed at it. We can look at big towers and big machiness and new technologies and good laws and be artwork and merchants and the economies and all these things and say wow. We can marvel at the wisdom in which God gives to men, how much we can learn when we go to the ant and become wise. But these great marvels, is good as they are, they never, never, never, can replace the true king, the true God and the True Kingdom that I spoke about this morning that he offers to us. And because of the sin in us, the way Jesus talks about wealth and power is to be generally deeply suspicious of it. Not that he doesn't use it, not that there aren't good ends for it, not that he hasn't even he has placed on people in positions of wealth and power and who have done much good. Think of Joseph, for example, and others. It's not that these things are bad in and of themselves, but our sin in US often makes us go astray and we ought to be deeply suspicious about ourselves and our place in our our hearts when we come into contact with the glory of Man. The other thing that we have to remember is, as glorious as these things are, they don't even begin to compare to the power of God. You can go and look at something like the Maurenzi mind if somebody, if you've been out there, this huge, vast work with giant machines rolling and moving through accomplishing amazing things. Or you can look at this passage and this beautiful city. Pictured here is a ship heavy, laden with riches and work, exhibiting on the wealth of the nations and being a wealth to the nation's and then, right at this moment, when she is pictured so in all of her glory and all of her heaviness, it's the very thing that sinks her as she goes into the high waters and as the Lord brings his judgment. What's great and powerful to us is really fleeting our lives. Our wealth,...

...our power of fame, celebrity, all these things, status, education, these things that we value, these things that we strive for. Though perhaps some of them good in some ways into some degree, we cannot think that they are permanent or that they are really all that important compared to knowing God and trusting in him above all things. Money comes and goes, fame comes and goes. You think you've reached one level and there's yet always another level to reach. You've probably experienced this on your own life, and this is the unanimous testimony of every single successful person and kingdom in the history of the world. Gaining, achieving, moving, accomplishing, growing, great families, great nations, more followers, more knowledge, better practices, more beauty, all of it can come falling and crashing down as soon as the Lord desires. What the Lord desires is not the glory of Man. He's not impressed. He made the whole world, simply speaking it into existence. He's not impressed at are, at the things that we do. What the Lord wants is a broken heart. What the Lord wants is humility before him. What the Lord wants is to know us and to love US and for us to love him in return and to find all the glory that we could ever need and ever want and even imagine in him and in him alone. The things of this world, they they pass away. Jesus talks about this right. Things rest, they get stolen, they get lost. You get tricked out of them. You wouldn't. You give them to your children and they waste them. You waste them. We make mistakes. This is life. We cannot trust in these things, Jesus says, seek first righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Passages like this remind us to be humbled, to look at the example of Jerusalem and now of tire and to know, as the Lord says, that he alone is God. Kings and leaders and an who are able to achieve and do great things are wonderful to have around, but they are not to become our gods. No Man is ever to be trusted in as the one king, no government is ever to be trusted in as the one fix, all Salvay, salvific solution for everything we need. Because of sin, the glory of men, the True Glory of Man that God does desire for us, can never be chieved, achieved. We always fall short, even of that, and or of the Scriptures put it, the glory of God. The king of tire thinks of himself as a God, and God says, will you say this as people are killing you? He will not. The way that we find true success, true happiness, true stability and a kingdom, as I mentioned this morning, using Hebrews language, language from the book of Hebrews, a kingdom that cannot... shaken, is, of course, in God alone. God offers to us a kingdom that is not achieved on these frail things, our wisdom, our power. He offers us to a kingdom that is achieved through his work, his word, his promise. Jesus is God. He is not pretending to be God, he is not hoping to be God, he is not just sort of making himself out to be a God. He is God, and the Kingdom that he accomplishes is accomplished not in the proudness of his own heart, but in righteousness, in holiness, a kingdom that is founded on obedience and the fulfillment of the law. The God rewards with an inheritance that Peter describes is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven. For us, the Kingdom of Jesus will not sink into the sea, the Kingdom of Jesus that will not be overcome by his enemies, the Kingdom of Jesus is not prone to disease or demons or any difficult thing that we face in this life. The Kingdom of Jesus is forever and it's for sure, and we see pictures of it in revelation. I'm going to turn their now and listen to how some of this, this language, comes back to us and when we are reminded of the new Jerusalem and all of its goodness. Let me read just a small passage here revelation twenty two, or sorry, twenty one, on beginning at Verse Fifteen. Think about this passage. In contrast with the sinking city of tire, here is describing the new Jerusalem, and the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies for square, its length the same as it's with, and he measured the city with his rod twelve thousand Stadia. It's length, with and height are all are equal. He measured its wall a hundred forty four cubits by human measurement, which is also an angels measurement. The wall was built of Jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was Jasper the second Sapphire, the third agate, the Fourth Emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth Carnelian, the seventh Chrysolite, the eighth barrel, the ninth, Topas, the ten, ten Chrysoparse Prass, the eleven jason and the twelve amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each of the gates was made of a single Pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, transparent is glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord, God, the Almighty and the lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp as the land lamb, by its light will walk, will the nation's walk, and the Kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those whose are who are written in the lamb's book of life. The city that is promised to us the city of the Great King is one that is that exceeds even the beauty of the kingdoms of this world, even in their metaphorical sense.

US, it exceeds beyond our imagination. It is a city that is ruled in justice and love, a city where there is nothing detestable and false, whose foundations are forever sure. The judgment that is pictured and tire, the judgment against sin and unrighteousness, is what Jesus endured on the cross so that we would not have to fear judgment anymore. The city that he brings us into, the new Jerusalem, this heavenly city, is a city that is everlasting, and so let us not be distracted and tempted by the things of this world, but instead put our hope only in the great king, the true King and our Lord, Jesus Christ men, let's pray our father in heaven. We thank you that you have created a world in which we can set about and work in and do amazing things, creating ships and buildings and cities, on achieving great, great feats in art, in agriculture. Lord, you allow us to create laws and societies that are really splendid. You help us to know how to navigate with the stars, how to build computers, how to write symphonies and great literature, and these things are wondrous and Glorious and we are right to be amazed at them and to enjoy them and taste of the goodness of this labor. But, Lord, please keep us from trusting in it and forgetting that you, and you alone are the giver of these things. We are not God's and no king is our God, no government, no power, no philosophy, no promise, except that which comes from you and Jesus Christ, our Savior. In Him and M him alone do we have the glory of God, something that far surpasses anything that we have experienced in this world. Lord, we look forward not to just more wealth or something like that. We look forward to a new heaven and the new earth that you have prepared for us. We look forward to a place where where there is perfect peace and perfect rule forever and all the nations will see your praise and the praise of the lamb. We asked, Lord, that we would not give the glory of God to any other and that, as we have, we come to enjoy certain amounts of wisdom or health. Help us not to trust these things or be tempted by them. And, as we are, Lord, we ask that you would take them away from us, that we would allow us to suffer, that we might learn to trust in you and in you alone. Lord. We pray also that this word, this good word, of the Kingdom of God and it's King, Jesus Christ, would be proclaimed faithfully here among us and lived out in our lives. We ask also that that message would be proclaimed and lived in in other churches throughout our city and our country and our world. We pray, Lord, that the message, in the goodness of your word, would help to undo the false pride that so many of us have, the false trust we have the things of this world. And as we learn to trust... you, Lord, and as we grow in your strength, we ask also, Lord, that you would remove anxiety and fear that comes from paying too much attention to the things of this world. Lord, we also ask that your blessing would be upon us as we go out into our callings this week. You have left us here in the world and have called us to go out into it proclaiming this good news. Being good neighbors, living at peace with those around us. Help us to do these things as citizens of Your heavenly kingdom. May Your name be praised in our lives and all of our various vocations and callings, and when we struggle and when we don't know where to turn, help us to quickly and always turn back to you. We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (653)